By on November 14, 2013

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Thirteen cars, from the Ford Fiesta ST to the Ferrari F12berlinetta, met in Michigan two months ago for Road & Track‘s first “Performance Car Of The Year” shootout. Seven were eliminated around the “Motown Mile” concrete airport road course, one died an ignominious death in the hills of Ohio, three made it to the finals, one was crowned the 2013 #pcoty.

In a nod to the “new media”, the magazine permitted a pair of online-writer controversialists to participate in the event. Jalopnik’s Travis Okulski spent the day at the track with us before jetting off to a Bentley event where the journalists were being allowed to hunt some of Joseph Kony’s child warriors in open-topped Continental GTCs while being force-fed foie gras in a test of meta-irony. (That’s not even remotely close to being true; I think he went home to bathe his golden retriever or something.) You can read his coverage here.

Your humble E-I-C was permitted to attend the whole thing, annoy the other writers, perform a couple of double-yellow passes that will haunt the nightmares of the magazine’s editorial staff for years to come… and, oh yeah, I wrote the story that made the young girls cry. You can read it online if you like, but I’d really prefer that you buy the magazine on the 19th and read it there. Not because I need the money, although I do. It’s more for the fact that this 3,200-word barbaric yawp is meant to be held in your hands and read old-school. There’s very little concession to short attention spans or quick paragraphs. I wanted you to be right there with us as we drove the cars. So buy the magazine, okay?

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33 Comments on “The First-Ever Road&Track Performance Car Of The Year...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    You sell magazines too? What a guy

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I don’t even buy magazines anymore. My public library has free monthly e-magazines for Road and Track, Car and Driver, Motortrend, Consumer Reports, Economist, as well as about 300 other North American titles. All downloaded to my Zinio app on my iPad, without having to wait for someone to return their electronic copy. Anyone with a public library membership should check their’s out to see if they have something similar. I don’t know how these publications can stay in business.

  • avatar
    jz78817

    “In a nod to the “new media”, the magazine permitted a pair of online-writer controversialists to participate in the event. Jalopnik’s Travis Okulski spent the day at the track with us before jetting off to a Bentley event where the journalists were being allowed to hunt some of Joseph Kony’s child warriors in open-topped Continental GTCs while being force-fed foie gras in a test of meta-irony.”

    this is why I read this site.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    How was the initial list of 13 (or whatever) developed? Seems like there are an awful lot of other cars that could have been considered.

    Could the Fiesta really have won this? What if it had a 400 hp engine, would R&T let a Fiesta win?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I swear at first glance that I thought that the top pic was of a mid 2000s Pontiac GTO. I couldn’t figure out why R&T had named a used car as the Performance Car of the Year.

  • avatar
    jimble

    Double-yellow passes? Please tell me they weren’t on open, public roads. If you want to put your own life in danger on a track, go right ahead. But keep the thrill-seeking antics off the roads where you could kill somebody who hasn’t signed up for your idea of fun.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Fun fact: in some places, it’s legal to pass on a double yellow. I know for sure of Vermont; maybe there are others. Your cries would be unfounded over there.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      I live on a dirt road off a state highway where dump and log trucks roam. My state road ends in a T intersection where almost all the traffic turns left, onto a double yellow stretch with a slight uphill grade. If you’re in a car stuck behind one of those trucks, you will turn after him and immediately double yellow pass the truck as it laboriously builds speed. There is plenty of visibility and the lumbering truck is still so slow you can execute the pass in only 100 feet or so. All kinds of car drivers routinely do it including my very cautious wife in her Prius. It isn’t always reckless.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I always thought Road & Track, Car & Driver, etc chose their Shopping Cart of the Year (SCOTY) based on who ever bought the most ads. A nice big, fat El Scotto Aisle King ad next to the article that proclaimed the Aisle King the SCOTY. Such practices make one wonder.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    “[B]ut I’d really prefer that you buy the magazine on the 19th and read it there.”

    Once I learned that Jack is contributing to R&T, and that the magazine was under a new editorial regime, I subscribed for the first time in my long career of buff book consumption. It’s now a far more interesting publication* – easily the best of the American car mags – so I second Jack’s suggestion that people buy the print edition. And I’m not even getting paid…

    *I will miss Egan’s regular columns, however. Even when I wasn’t a subscriber, his pieces often caused me to buy issues off the newsstand.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      Most of the changes have been very good, but I’m not sure I’m huge on the veneration of Bob Lutz, just because fratboy fanboi-ishness just gets a little grating. More long-form journalism is always a plus, and stories as much about the journey as the cars, and which convey an experience are key. Not sure if most people agree, or if they will pony up money for that, which is the big thing.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    “3,200-word barbaric yawp”

    Obscure Dead Poet’s Society reference?

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    You scared me with that 435 in the picture. I was worried that would’ve won. Glad to see it got left behind. 2 thoughts:

    1.) There is a hotel suite at the top of Cinderellas Castle. I’ve been told both that it is for VIPs or that it’s only for giveaways so it’s something so special $ can’t buy. I haven’t stayed there, but I have been in it. They may also use it for storage, when no one is staying in it, but it is there and people do stay in it.

    2.) “rotation” in aviation refers to the the aircraft pitching up to takeoff at the end of it’s take off roll, not lining up at the end of the runway to take off. “line up” is now the official terminology (you will hear pilots be given the command to “line up and wait” which means position the aircraft for takeoff but don’t go). This phraseology was introduced in 2010, the previous verbiage being “position and hold”, so you could have also said “position”.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The idea is that Disney *had* to build suite. It wasn’t always there.

      As for 2), you got me. I’ve flown planes but never legally :)

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        Understood…I misread your point

        I’ve only got 1.2 hours going for a ride with a cousin who also happened to be a CFI. I have worked at an airport off and on for 6 years, though, and spent a lot of time listening to the tower…that and I’m just a nerd in general.

        • 0 avatar
          Japanese Buick

          “Line up and wait” a/k/a “be a sitting duck on the runway and hope some yahoo not paying attention doesn’t land on top of you.”

          My least favorite ATC instruction.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    “There’s a lot of chuckling in the paddock over the blue seats and odd Track Edition badging on Nissan’s newest GT-R, but on the runway, it’s serious business. It’s also damn near the fastest car in the test. “It’s so good … and it used to be so terrible,” says Cammisa.”

    Ever since you clued us in to “the wobble” as you put it, I have a hard time not seeing it everywhere.

  • avatar
    Mike N.

    Is it just me or does R&T’s little logo(the red and white one with the R&T in script in the middle) look like a Nazi banner out of the corner of your eye?

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Fifth Gear, EVO, Top Gear (for what its worth), US magazines and motoring enthusiasts all say the Fiesta ST is the real deal. God how I now want one. My commute is 70 mi total, 50 of which is on 60 mph state highway. The 35mpg combo + general fun nature would be a worthy successor to my Fit.

  • avatar
    67dodgeman

    Don’t you have to be an “at-risk youth” earning his way through college in order to properly sell magazines?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Well written. Might get me to re-think R&T. But one question: you all seemed to have nothing negative to say about Godzilla, but eliminated it early. Any particular reason? Is it simply out-shown by the ‘Vette?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The only person to really enjoying banging the big Nissan around the Motown Mile was yours truly, and my enjoyment was sharply stifled by the fact that the shift paddles are mounted to the steering column.

      The Corvette is more enjoyable to drive for less money.

      I voted early and often against the Cayman in favor of the GT-R, but I was virtually alone in that.

  • avatar
    JMII

    When does the 3 door version of the Fiesta arrive? It will be a hard sell but this sounds like the perfect replacement for the wife’s Volvo C30 a few years from now.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    …and the Jack Baruth C7 Corvette review is finally published! That was the longest wait ever. You’re such a tease, Jack. ;)


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